In a career-best performance he described as “definitely the race of my life”, the 28-year-old PTO-ranked No 28 shocked a star-studded line-up to scoop the $100,000 first prize as Ditlev overtook Long within the final kilometre to grab second place.
Chartier, who finished 11th in the PTO Canadian Open in July, stopped the clock in 3:17:17 – 42sec clear of the Dane. Sam Laidlow, who led through the first half of the bike, held on for fourth, with Germany’s Florian Angert, who was leading on to the run, in fifth.
In a field packed with quality and in sweltering conditions it was one of the most open races of 2022 with no standout favourite.
There was no Alistair Brownlee, who had withdrawn with a stress fracture, but those lining up for the 2km swim, 80km bike 18km run in Texas still included big hitters such as Lionel Sanders, Daniel Baekkegard and Rudy Von Berg, with Britain represented through wildcard Tom Bishop.
What happened in the swim?
Starting early afternoon under the Texas sun, the water temperature was 27.3 degrees and the air temperature 34 degrees and rising as they dived from the pontoon.
It was the first middle distance event for the 23-year-old who is having a fine season in short course racing and finished third behind Dorian Coninx and Blummenfelt in a World Cup in Bergen three weeks ago.
By the time they reached the Australian exit halfway through the 2km swim it was Australian Aaron Royle – third in the PTO Canadian Open in Edmonton – who had moved to the front with USA’s Ben Kanute on his toes followed by France’s Laidlow.
Royle led into transition followed by a stream of 20 athletes including Bishop, with Kanute first out on to the 80km bike leg.
What happened on the bike?
Laidlow took charge for the first half of the 80km bike, with Angert for company. Behind them feared cyclists Ditlev and Long – who was 35th out of the water – were moving through the field to within 90secs.
It remained tight though with less than 3mins separating the top 20 or so triathletes on the flat, seven-lap course.
Angert broke away from Laidlow with 20km to go on the bike to take a 40sec lead into T2 followed by Long, Ditlev, Chartier and Laidlow as the race finally started to break up.
What happened on the run?
Out on to the 18km run and both the temperature and the racing continued to heat up. First to strike was Long, who showed his intentions with the fastest transition and then ran down Angert within the first 3km.
Ditlev wasn’t losing any time on the leader and soon moved into second. But Chartier, who has been training with Sanders in Arizona and now shares the same coach in Norway’s Mikel Iden, was also looking threatening as he moved into third with both Ditlev and Long in his sights.
Into the second half of the run and it appeared a three-way shootout between the trio with Angert and Laidlow running in fourth and fifth but losing time to the front.
Approaching the last 5km it was Chartier who moved to the shoulder of his fellow American to take the lead for the first time and didn’t look back as extended the advantage to the finish.
Ditlev closed in on Long and managed to make the pass just before the line to claim the runners-up spot and a cheque for $70,000 to add to his wins at Challenge Roth and the Collins Cup earlier this summer.
Sanders couldn’t muster another resurgence and finished 21st, and Bishop – who was nursing a run injury coming into the event – struggled on the final discipline to come in 30th.
Top image credit: Ronan Mellows PTO